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Journal of Biomedical Optics • Open Access

Quantitative characterization of developing collagen gels using optical coherence tomography
Author(s): David Levitz; Monica T. Hinds; Niloy Choudhury; Noi T. Tran; Stephen R. Hanson; Steven L. Jacques

Paper Abstract

Nondestructive optical imaging methods such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) have been proposed for characterizing engineered tissues such as collagen gels. In our study, OCT was used to image collagen gels with different seeding densities of smooth muscle cells (SMCs), including acellular gels, over a five-day period during which the gels contracted and became turbid with increased optical scattering. The gels were characterized quantitatively by their optical properties, specified by analysis of OCT data using a theoretical model. At 6 h, seeded cell density and scattering coefficient (µs) were correlated, with µs equal to 10.8 cm-1/(106 cells/mL). Seeded cell density and the scattering anisotropy (g) were uncorrelated. Over five days, the reflectivity in SMC gels gradually doubled with little change in optical attenuation, which indicated a decrease in g that increased backscatter, but only a small drop in µs. At five days, a subpopulation of sites on the gel showed substantially higher reflectivity (approximately a tenfold increase from the first 24 h). In summary, the increased turbidity of SMC gels that develops over time is due to a change in the structure of collagen, which affects g, and not simply due to a change in number density of collagen fibers due to contraction.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 2010
PDF: 11 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 15(2) 026019 doi: 10.1117/1.3377961
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 15, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
David Levitz, Oregon Health & Science Univ. (United States)
Monica T. Hinds, Oregon Health & Science Univ. (United States)
Niloy Choudhury, Oregon Health & Science Univ. (United States)
Noi T. Tran, Oregon Health & Science Univ. (United States)
Stephen R. Hanson, Oregon Health & Science Univ. (United States)
Steven L. Jacques, Oregon Health & Science Univ. (United States)


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